Work in New Zealand

We often hear questions about finding work in New Zealand, the process of finding a job and getting a work visa in the country. The most popular and burning questions that are asked of us are:

  • «Is it really possible to find a job in New Zealand after training?»
  • «How easy is it to find a job after studying»
  • «What kind of salary can I expect, will it be enough for life and getting residency?»

Honestly, no one anywhere can guarantee you a job, no matter what advertising articles may tell you. Moreover, it is completely independent of the country of residence. Even at home in their homeland, for fresh graduates without experience, it is extremely difficult to find a job. If more so, you are in a country where the spoken language is not your native language, you should be aware of all possible difficulties. Nevertheless, as our experience shows, anything is possible. But let’s deal with your chances in order.

How to get a work visa

To be able to work, you must have a work visa, residency or citizenship. And to get one of these statuses, you need to find a job in New Zealand. Unfortunately, doing this remotely is extremely difficult and very unlikely. For this reason, most people come to New Zealand to study and look for work on the spot to further their legitimacy of staying in the country. In some cases, students have the right to work part-time, which helps not only the budget but also in the search for a permanent job in the future.

Read here important changes of Post Study Work Visa from 8 August 2018.

There are rules for obtaining work visas after the completion of New Zealand-based training.

Post Study Work Visa for 3 years

  • If you study for a minimum of one year (30 weeks) and complete a level 7 Bachelor’s Degree or a Level 8, 9, or 10 Post-Graduate programme.

Post Study Work Visa for 2 years

  • If you study for a minimum of one year (30 weeks) and complete a Level 7 Graduate Diploma outside of Auckland (this applies only to those who have completed a programme before December 31, 2021).
  • If you study for a minimum of two years (60 weeks) and complete one or more Level 4-6 programmes outside of Auckland. (this is only applicable to those who have completed their degree before December 31, 2021).
  • If you study for a minimum of one year (30 weeks) and achieve a Level 7 Graduate Degree in Auckland, you are eligible for a one-year open work visa. You may receive an extra year if you are working towards registration with a professional or trade body.

Post Study Work Visa for 1 year

  • If you study for a minimum of one year (30 weeks) and achieve any Level 7 qualification in Auckland.
  • If you study for a minimum of two years (60 weeks) and complete one or more Level 4-6 programmes in Auckland.

If during this year you find a job related to the education you received but have not yet received permanent residency, you can get a Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) for another two years.

The next step after obtaining work and a working visa is residency. Immigration New Zealand has announced changes in August 2017, which relate to the minimum wage threshold required to obtain residency. Now, to apply for permanent residence, you need to earn about NZD $49,000 per year or more. For some specialities, this can be difficult, but still a feasible task.

Where can I search for vacancies in New Zealand?

The most common way to find a job is to monitor jobs on websites:

  • and – are the most popular sites for job searches.
  • and – sites for foreign applicants. Employers who post jobs on these sites are usually very familiar with the process of hiring a foreign specialist.
  • – is an excellent resource for a job search, if you just graduated and do not have much work experience.
  •– here you will find job ads for current students
  • – here you can find an internship for and work for students.

You can also contact a recruiting company. There are a large number of them in New Zealand and services for applicants are free. On the Careers New Zealand website you will find a detailed list of such agencies. You can work with more than one company. However, it should be borne in mind that to the employer you may seem unprofessional if several agents represent you for the same job. The labour market in New Zealand is small and it is important to remember who you contacted about work, when and what exactly was said.

How to get a job?

As in any case, the most difficult task in a new country for you is to start, that is, to find the first job. Having no local experience and not knowing the specifics of the way of New Zealand companies, one can miss suitable vacancies. Therefore, we advise you to undertake any work while you are studying and in parallel to look for the job of your dreams. This applies to representatives of all professions without exception. Do not limit your search to your narrow specialisation. Think about which of your skills and knowledge are universal and can be useful in different spheres and boldly drive them into search engines on websites with vacancies (job vacancies for students can be found here:

Do not be afraid of low-skilled work. The employer does not write you off because being an engineer, you have worked part-time in a restaurant or at a construction site, but quite to the contrary – considers it as initiative and hard work. Such qualities are valued in any field. In parallel with such work, you can continue to search for something more desirable and close to your specialisation.

Another big plus for your resume will be the position of volunteer. New Zealanders really appreciate help to the community, whether it is participation in the cleaning of grounds, the walking of dogs from the shelter or unpaid work in the centre for collecting clothes for the poor. In addition, you will make new acquaintances and will gain invaluable experience, as well as very useful recommendations for employment.

It’s useful to be able to make some money during study not only in terms of finances and the subsequent search for permanent work but also in terms of psychology and adaptation. You will feel much more comfortable if you know that you earn at least something, apply yourself and remain a useful member of society.

You can be trained in the search for work in New Zealand more thoroughly through seminars such as:

  • New Kiwis in Auckland (if you have a working or resident visa)
  • Work Ready  in Wellington (with student, work or resident visas)

Seminars are for immigrants and New Zealanders who have returned to the country after a long absence. Seminars last 3 days and participation in them is absolutely free. You only need to register on the website. Training is conducted by highly qualified specialists who will teach you all the intricacies of employment in New Zealand:

  • How to develop an effective strategy for a job search
  • How to write a professional resume
  • How to correctly answer questions during an interview

We want to note that this is not just lectures and theoretical knowledge. They will work with you individually, answer all your questions, you will pass a trial interview where you will be shown mistakes and will work on the correct model of behaviour. At the end of the seminar, you will have the opportunity, once every few weeks, to meet with your mentor and analyse how the job search is going. In general, do not pass on such a wealth of useful knowledge and skills.

Get acquainted with the intricacies of work and further immigration by speciality on our website:

Over the years of our experience, Kiwi Education agrees that New Zealand employers looking at the applicant’s case in this order:

  • Visa
    This is the first screening point. Most employers do not want to solve visa issues for employees, so they are looking for people with an already existing right to work.
  • Local experience and recommendations
    This is a very important point. New Zealand employers want to be convinced that a person will be able to work in the local environment, that they have already passed the adaptation stage at the proper level and are ready to work. Therefore, we strongly recommend that our students seek work or volunteer for the duration of their studies. This helps a lot not only financially and psychologically, but also increases the chances of finding a permanent position in the future.
  • Professional skills
    Opening positions in the company, employers want to see a person with certain clear skills. It is the availability of these skills and their correct formulation in your resume that will help to tip the scales in your direction.
  • Foreign experience
    Of course, the knowledge and experience gained in your country will always remain with you and can play a positive role in finding a new job. Not all knowledge will be relevant and useful, but nevertheless. If you have experience working for international companies or participating in international projects, the better it is for you.
  • Personal attraction
    In New Zealand, communication and personalities play a big role. Managers prefer to hire employees, with whom, in their opinion, it will be more comfortable for them to work. Thus, it is very important to be able to position yourself as a team player, even if you are a niche specialist. Most likely, you will work within a team and your ability to do so will be taken into account.
  • Prestigiousness of education
    And only with all other data being equal with your competitors, in sixth place, the employer may look at the prestige of your education. And, perhaps, give preference to the qualification that is more highly ranked in New Zealand and in the world. In areas of the academic, scientific, medical, engineering and some other fields, the prestige of education will play a much more important role than others.

Wages in New Zealand

From 1st April 2021, the minimum wage is NZ$ 20 per hour.

  • Graduates of a three-year Bachelor’s degree of the 7th level, earn approximately NZD $38,000 in the first year of work with an increase of up to NZD $50,000 in the third year.
  • Graduates of one-year programs of the 7th level and above earn about NZD $45,000 in the first year with an increase to NZD $58,000 in the third year.

Comparison of salaries by type of diploma and profession

Of course, salaries can vary greatly depending on the speciality, the level of your skills, the ability to correctly represent yourself and other factors.

Employment statistics

Now let’s look at the probability of finding a job with the right salary.

General data on unemployment
Officially in New Zealand, there is a fairly low unemployment rate – less than 6%, this figure is among the top ten in the world. At the same time, more than 21% of unemployed people are aged 15-19 years and more than 10% are aged 20 to 24 years, having a greater impact on statistics. In addition, the majority of unemployed people are among Maori and Pacific nationals, while unemployment among Europeans is less than 4.5%, and among Asian citizens is below 7%.


Basic data on foreign graduates
In the first year after the completion of the 3-year Bachelor’s degree at the 7th level, about 22% of graduates continue their education, about 29% are employed, and about 45% return home or go to other countries. In the first year after the end of the annual programs of level 7 or higher, about 20% of graduates continue their education, about 60% of graduates find work, and about 20% leave New Zealand.

Source for official data.

Basic data on local graduates
In the first year after the completion of a three-year Bachelor’s degree of the 7th level, about 37% of graduates continue their education, and about 57% are employed. In the first year after the end of the annual programs of level 7 or higher, about 13% of graduates continue their education, and about 82% of graduates find work.


For all questions, please contact Kiwi Education. We would be happy to help you.


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